Teacher v. Technology

Anyone and everyone who has had a child or grandchild within the past decade knows what Baby Einstein is.

If you have watched or listened to any new within the past 24 hours, you also know about a refund that the Baby Einstein company has decided to offer in response to accusations that their products (mostly the videos) are not, in fact, educational. The experts seem to agree that no amount of time in front of any video will teach a baby as much about language, shapes, colors, animals, and human social skills as one-on-one time with parents and other caretakers.

After listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation do a 30 minute segment on this topic, I did some reflection:

How much does technology matter in my classroom?

How much to I matter?

If you are interested, listen to the NPR broadcast. It was an excellent segment and the guests got into a rather heated debate on the topic.

If you don't have time to listen, just check out the summary at NPR.org.

In light of a recent blog I posted about students creating websites and using the Internet databases available at our school library to complete a research project, I wonder if it is about the technology at all. Could my students have accomplished this project without having me, a human presence to answer questions and give directions, in the computer lab with them? Would a set of typed directions and instructional videos that provided the same information have done the same job?

With all of the emphasis on technology integration in education, how important is the human factor?


  1. There is absolutely no substitution for the human/teacher connection, in my opinion. I won't lie - I've used a DVD or an "educational" cartoon to babysit my kid(s) on numerous occasions and I've often justified it by choosing something deemed educational...but in no way do I believe that the video could substitute what I am able to teach them or what their family/teachers are able to teach them.

    I worry that our children will grow up unable to communicate verbally at all. They email. They text. They don't ever speak like we did. They stay up until 4am texting, while we stayed up until 4am talking. That worries me. However in today's world, you have no choice but to teach them technology and to teach it to them vigorously. It is the way the world is now and while we should still try to foster a love of human contact with our children, we can't deny that technology has to be a huge part of their curriculum.

    I think your website project was fantastic! I think it was great!


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